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Fraser’s design doubly criticized

buffalo nickelWere there others besides Victor David Brenner who were criticized for their initials on U.S. coins?

James Earle Fraser got flack over the incuse “F” on the Buffalo nickel. The design was also criticized because it lacked Miss Liberty or Columbia.

How long have we had credit cards?

Back around 1100 in Cologne, Germany, the smallest coin was a denar. One-quarter denar would buy 20 loaves of bread. To facilitate trade, a pair of sticks with notches was used. The customer kept one, the merchant the other.

Warman's U.S. Coin Collecting

Get more questions and answers to you collecting inquiries!

Was the man who made the dies for our first coins an engraver?

It’s all in how you define engraving. According to Robert W. Julian, the dies were made by Henry Voight, described as “A skilled watchmaker and mechanic, but not skilled in making dies.”

I know there were bans on the export or melting of silver coins, but is it really true that Canada once banned the export of nickel coins?

They did, because of the Canadian nickel miner’s strike in 1969. World demand for nickel, used to replace silver in many world coins, exceeded supply and a Canadian 5-cent piece contained 7 cents worth of nickel.

Is it a fact that at one time when silver prices were very low there was a ban on importing silver coins of other countries into the United States?

In 1935 the Treasury Department banned the import of any silver coins that contained silver worth more than the face value of the coin. Among those noted as falling under the provisions of this regulation were coins of at least 10 countries: Bolivia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Colombia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Peru, Salvador and Uruguay. At the time, the silver content of the American silver dollar was worth 55 cents.

Any statistics on the West Point mint?

West Point helped alleviate the coin shortage in the 1970s by striking 1.5 billion cents a year. The mint was originally the West Point Bullion Depository. It was started as a mint under the 1973 law that authorized “any” facility for striking coins. The facility stored silver beginning in 1938. The initial shipment was over 1 million bars, weighing 1.2 billion troy ounces.

What is a matte proof surface?

It differs from a mirror proof in that it is applied to the already-struck coin. The coins are variously sand blasted or pickled to produce the roughened surface. Some may have had the planchets treated as well, but the effect of this on the struck surface is dubious.

I’m confused by milled and reeded edges.

The European meaning for a milled edge includes reeded, plain, grained, ornamented and lettered. U.S. usage is a milled coin, meaning one with upset rims.

Is there a Civil War token that has some Morse Code spelled out?

There is a listing for an undated token for S.W. Chubbuck, of Utica, N.Y., a manufacturer of telegraph equipment in the 1847-1863 period. The piece has the complete Morse Code alphabet with the dot and dash symbols on the reverse.

Isn’t it a good idea to open and check proof sets received from the Mint?

There’s no premium for an unopened box. A recurring fad is to leave boxes unopened, but con artists fill them with rocks and reseal them. It’s always a good idea to check for damaged or defective coins, holders, etc., and you want to check for valuable minting varieties, too. The enlightened word is to buy the coin, not the box.

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